Can Hospice Care Help My Family?
Statistically, we can all look forward to living much longer than those who came before us. That does
not, however, mean that we will live forever. For some of us, the end will come suddenly, without
warning. Others, however, will know ahead of time that the end is coming. If you have a family member
in this situation, you may wish to consider taking advantage of hospice care.
Hospice care is typically available to individuals who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and
who have a life expectancy of about six months or less. It may also be available if a patient has decided
to forego treatment for a condition or illness that will lead to death if left untreated. The goal of hospice
care is to make a terminally ill patient as comfortable as possible during his or her last months, weeks or
days. The focus is not on treating the patient but on making the patient physically comfortable and on
providing emotional support.
Hospice care does more than just assist the patient though, it helps family members and loved ones get
through the process as well. While a trained hospice care nurse is usually in charge, he or she will
typically include family members and loved ones in the care of the patient as well. A hospice patient
should never be alone. Hospice care provides around the clock support for a patient, making sure that
someone is with the patient at all times.
Finding a good hospice care provider is often the key to making a family member as comfortable as
possible at the end of his or her life. The cost of hospice care is covered by Medicare and state Medicaid
programs if the patient qualifies. In addition, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and most private
healthcare insurance also cover the cost of hospice care. Local churches, community action agencies and
hospitals may also help cover the cost of hospice care. To find a qualify hospice care program near year,
check with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization at www.nhpco.org or the Hospice
Foundation of America at www.hospicefoundation.org .
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